One market that is a D-SLR stronghold and is likely to remain so for the immediate future is that of wedding photography. Given the opulence of Indian weddings and the fact that we have the second largest population in the world (to get married), wedding photographers have never had it so good.
In the past, wedding photography was limited to a few who could access smuggled equipment and produce reasonable results for their efforts. A lot of wedding photographers that we knew of that time actually knew very little about photography. They were sarcastically called the 5.6/60 walas. With the widespread availability of quality SLRs and the rise of elaborate photo books, wedding photography in India has acquired new dimensions. It is now a full time occupation to several thousand photographers throughout the country. We also understand that photobooks costing over Rs.1 lakh are not considered expensive by many Indian couples.
Contrary to popular belief, there are several nuances to wedding photography and the good wedding photographer is the one who can capture emotions, detail and the ambiance of the event at its best. Most wedding photographers tend to use two camera bodies, two standard zooms accompanied by high quality flashguns. Two bodies are essential just in case one fails although this is a rarity today. A tripod and spare batteries are also a must.
Wedding photography is also extremely risky. If your pictures are not delivered according to expectations, there is a strong possibility that you may not be paid the amount due to you. In India, there is a fixation that the bride must look fairer than she is in real life and any disappointment on that score can hurt the photographer financially.
How does one learn wedding photography? The answer is, there is no magic key. Understanding the basics of exposure, depth of field, portraiture etc. can come in very useful.
Would I recommend that an average person having a camera take on the responsibility of shooting the wedding for a friend? The answer is a big ‘NO’ unless you want to lose your friend forever.
H. S. Billimoria